You’ve always admired the soul-stirring melody of “How Great Thou Art” and longed to recreate its beauty with your own hands. Well, now is your chance! In this article, you will uncover the secrets to playing this timeless hymn on the guitar. By mastering the enchanting chords that bring the song to life, you too will be able to express your devotion and awe through the strings of your instrument. So grab your guitar, tune it up, and get ready to embark on a musical journey that will uplift your spirit and captivate hearts.
Overview of the Song
“How Great Thou Art” is a timeless hymn that has been sung and loved by generations of worshippers. It is a powerful song that praises and worships God for His greatness and majesty. The song’s lyrics and melody come together to create a heartfelt expression of faith and devotion.
Lyrics of How Great Thou Art
The lyrics of “How Great Thou Art” are filled with awe and gratitude for God’s creation and salvation. The words beautifully describe the wonders of nature and the greatness of God’s love and mercy. Singing these lyrics can bring a sense of peace and reverence as you reflect on the incredible works of God.
The Melody of How Great Thou Art
The melody of “How Great Thou Art” is simple yet powerful, evoking a sense of reverence and worship. It is a melody that flows smoothly and allows the lyrics to take center stage. Whether you are singing or playing it on the guitar, the melody will resonate with the listener and create a heartfelt atmosphere of worship.
Chords Used in How Great Thou Art
The chords used in “How Great Thou Art” are relatively simple and beginner-friendly. The basic chords you will need to know are G Major, C Major, D Major, E Minor, and A Minor. These chords form the foundation of the song and create a harmony that complements the melody and lyrics. By mastering these chords, you will be able to play the song easily and confidently.
Basic Techniques Needed
To play “How Great Thou Art” on the guitar, you will need to familiarize yourself with some basic techniques. These techniques will help you create the right sound and enhance your playing skills.
fingerstyle technique involves plucking the strings of the guitar individually using your fingers. It allows for greater control and precision in producing the desired notes and melodies. Learning fingerstyle technique will enable you to create a rich and nuanced sound while playing “How Great Thou Art.”
strumming technique involves using a pick or your fingers to strum across the guitar strings. It is a basic technique that creates a rhythmic and percussive sound. Mastering different strumming patterns will give you the flexibility to vary the dynamics and mood of the song while playing “How Great Thou Art.”
Chord transitioning is the ability to smoothly and seamlessly move from one chord to another. It is an essential skill for playing any song on the guitar. Practicing chord transitions will enable you to play “How Great Thou Art” without any pauses or disruptions in the flow of the music.
Understanding Guitar Chords
Before diving into learning the chords for “How Great Thou Art,” it’s important to understand the different types of chords commonly used in guitar playing.
Open chords are simple and beginner-friendly chords that involve pressing certain strings down on the fretboard while letting other strings remain open. Some examples of open chords include G Major, C Major, D Major, E Minor, and A Minor. Learning open chords will lay a solid foundation for playing “How Great Thou Art” and many other songs.
Barre chords involve using one finger to press down multiple strings across the fretboard. They give you the ability to play chords higher up the neck and add variety and complexity to your playing. While barre chords may be more challenging initially, mastering them will greatly expand your repertoire of chords for “How Great Thou Art” and other songs.
Power chords are commonly used in rock and contemporary music. They are made up of just two or three notes and have a distinctive sound. While “How Great Thou Art” does not heavily rely on power chords, it is still beneficial to understand and incorporate them into your playing style to add depth and versatility to your performance.
Learn the Basic Chords for How Great Thou Art
To begin learning “How Great Thou Art” on guitar, it is important to become familiar with the basic chords used in the song.
G Major Chord
The G Major chord is one of the foundational chords in the key of G and will be frequently used in “How Great Thou Art.” To play G Major, place your second finger on the third fret of the low E string, your third finger on the third fret of the B string, and your fourth finger on the third fret of the high E string. Strum all the strings except for the low E string to produce a full G Major sound.
C Major Chord
The C Major chord is a versatile and widely used chord in many songs, including “How Great Thou Art.” To play C Major, place your first finger on the first fret of the B string, your second finger on the second fret of the D string, and your fourth finger on the third fret of the A string. Strum from the A string downwards, avoiding the low E string.
D Major Chord
The D Major chord is another essential chord in the key of G and is frequently used in “How Great Thou Art.” To play D Major, place your first finger on the second fret of the G string, your second finger on the second fret of the high E string, and your third finger on the third fret of the B string. Play only the bottom four strings, starting from the D string.
E Minor Chord
The E Minor chord is a foundational chord in many songs and will add emotional depth to your rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” To play E Minor, place your second finger on the second fret of the A string and your third finger on the second fret of the D string. Strum from the E string downwards, avoiding the low E string.
A Minor Chord
The A Minor chord is a versatile and commonly used chord that will bring an expressive element to your performance of “How Great Thou Art.” To play A Minor, place your first finger on the first fret of the B string. Strum from the A string downwards, avoiding the low E string.
How to Play How Great Thou Art on Guitar
Now that you are familiar with the basic chords for “How Great Thou Art,” let’s break down the song and explore how to play it on the guitar.
Verse 1: Playing the G Major Chord
The first verse of “How Great Thou Art” begins with the G Major chord. Strum the G Major chord four times in a steady rhythm for each line of the verse. Pay attention to the timing and emphasize the lyrics as you strum. The smooth and rich sound of the G Major chord will set the tone for the rest of the song.
Chorus: Transitioning between Chords
During the chorus of “How Great Thou Art,” you will need to transition between the G Major, C Major, and D Major chords. Take your time and practice transitioning smoothly and fluidly between these chords. Start by strumming each chord individually before incorporating the chord changes. As you become more comfortable, increase the speed and dynamic of your strumming to match the energy of the chorus.
Verse 2: Adding More Chord Progressions
In the second verse of “How Great Thou Art,” the chord progressions remain the same as the first verse. However, you can add more complexity and interest to your playing by incorporating fingerpicking patterns or arpeggios. Experiment with different techniques and patterns to find the style that resonates with you and enhances the emotional impact of the verse.
Bridge: Incorporating Barre Chords
The bridge of “How Great Thou Art” offers an opportunity to introduce barre chords into your playing. Consider using a barre chord, such as F Major or Bb Major, to add a sense of urgency and power to the bridge. Barre chords may take some practice to master, so be patient and persistent. With time and practice, you will be able to seamlessly incorporate them into your rendition of the song.
Adding Fingerstyle to Your Performance
To elevate your performance of “How Great Thou Art,” consider incorporating fingerstyle techniques. Fingerstyle adds depth and complexity to the song, allowing you to create a fuller sound on the guitar.
Thumb-Index Fingerstyle Pattern
One fingerstyle pattern you can use is the thumb-index fingerstyle pattern. With your thumb, pluck the lower strings (E, A, and D) while using your index finger to pluck the higher strings (G, B, and high E). Experiment with different variations of this pattern and find what works best for you.
Thumb-Index-Middle Fingerstyle Pattern
A more advanced fingerstyle pattern involves using your thumb, index, and middle fingers. Assign your thumb to the lower strings, your index finger to the G string, and your middle finger to the B and high E strings. This pattern will allow you to create more intricate melodies and add richness to your performance of “How Great Thou Art.”
Thumb-Index-Middle-Ring Fingerstyle Pattern
For an even more complex fingerstyle pattern, incorporate your ring finger into the mix. Assign your thumb to the lower strings, your index finger to the G string, your middle finger to the B string, and your ring finger to the high E string. This pattern will enable you to create intricate and beautiful melodies that complement the lyrics and melody of “How Great Thou Art.”
Strumming Patterns for How Great Thou Art
Another technique you can utilize while playing “How Great Thou Art” is different strumming patterns. Strumming patterns add variety and rhythm to your playing, enhancing the overall sound of the song.
One of the simplest strumming patterns is the down strumming pattern. With this pattern, you will strum downwards across the strings in a steady and rhythmic manner. Start by strumming each chord line by line and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable. The down strumming pattern creates a strong and driving rhythm that adds energy to your rendition of “How Great Thou Art.”
Up strumming is another strumming pattern that can add dynamics and flair to your playing of “How Great Thou Art.” Instead of strumming downwards, strum upwards across the strings, starting from the bass strings and ending with the higher ones. Experiment with incorporating up strumming into your playing by alternating between up and down strums to create a rhythmic and vibrant sound.
Strumming Patterns for Verse and Chorus
To enhance the verse and chorus sections of “How Great Thou Art,” try experimenting with different strumming patterns. For the verse, a gentle and flowing strumming pattern that matches the lyrics’ peaceful and reflective nature would work well. For the chorus, consider a more energetic and driving strumming pattern to bring out the uplifting and triumphant theme of the lyrics. Don’t be afraid to explore different strumming patterns and find the ones that resonate with you and the overall feel of the song.
Tips for Mastering How Great Thou Art on Guitar
To effectively learn and master “How Great Thou Art” on the guitar, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Consistency is key when learning any song on the guitar. Set aside regular practice time and dedicate yourself to honing your skills. Practicing every day, even for a short amount of time, will help you progress and internalize the song’s chords, techniques, and overall feel.
Start Slow and Gradually Increase Speed
When learning a new song, focus on accuracy and clarity before speed. Start by playing slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the chord progressions and transitions. Practicing at a slower tempo allows you to build muscle memory and develop a solid foundation for playing “How Great Thou Art” with confidence and precision.
Use a Metronome for Timing
Using a metronome is a valuable tool to improve your timing and rhythm. Set the metronome to a comfortable speed and practice playing along with it. As your confidence grows, gradually increase the metronome’s tempo to challenge yourself and improve your overall timing. The metronome will keep you on track and help you develop a strong sense of rhythm while playing “How Great Thou Art.”
Record Your Practice Sessions
Recording your practice sessions allows you to review your performance objectively and identify areas for improvement. It also provides an opportunity for self-reflection and the chance to evaluate your progress over time. By regularly recording and reviewing your practice sessions, you will gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses and be motivated to continue growing as a guitarist.
Seek Guidance from an Experienced Guitarist
If you find yourself struggling with certain techniques or aspects of “How Great Thou Art,” consider seeking guidance from an experienced guitarist or instructor. A teacher can provide valuable feedback, offer personalized tips and advice, and help you overcome any obstacles you may encounter. Their expertise and guidance will assist you in reaching your full potential as you learn and master the song on guitar.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
As you learn and practice “How Great Thou Art” on the guitar, be aware of these common mistakes and strive to avoid them.
Neglecting Proper Technique
Proper technique is essential for playing any song on the guitar. Avoid adopting bad habits or shortcuts that can hinder your progress. Focus on correct finger placement, posture, and hand positioning to produce clear and accurate sounds. Remember to warm up before practicing and take breaks to avoid strain or injury.
Rushing Through the Song
It can be tempting to rush through the song, particularly when you’re excited about learning a new piece. However, it’s important to maintain a steady tempo and rhythm throughout “How Great Thou Art.” Pay attention to the song’s dynamics and transitions, allowing the music to breathe and resonate with the listener. Playing at a consistent pace will create a more polished and enjoyable performance.
Dynamics, such as volume and intensity, are crucial in portraying the emotions and message of “How Great Thou Art.” Be mindful of the song’s crescendos, decrescendos, and the moments that require softer or more powerful playing. Use your strumming pattern or fingerstyle technique to emphasize the dynamic changes and bring depth to your interpretation of the song.
Lack of Fluidity in Chord Transitions
Smooth and seamless chord transitions are key to playing “How Great Thou Art” with confidence and precision. Avoid pausing or hesitating between chords, as this can disrupt the flow of the song. Practice transitioning between chords slowly at first, focusing on accuracy, and gradually increase your speed. With time and practice, your chord transitions will become fluid and natural.
Playing “How Great Thou Art” on the guitar allows you to express your faith and connect with the profound message of the song. By mastering the chords, techniques, and strumming patterns outlined in this article, you will be able to play the song with skill, emotion, and reverence. Remember to practice regularly, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the journey of mastering this beautiful hymn. Keep practicing and let the music of “How Great Thou Art” flow through you as you express your devotion and worship on the guitar.